Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 8 August 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
8 August 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russia-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Shchastya and Popasne. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces carried out mortar and artillery shelling of Ukrainian positions at several locations along the front – the heaviest shelling took place at Zaytseve, Avdiyivka and the Donetsk airport. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces attacked a Ukrainian position near Starohnativka. Ukrainian forces repelled the attack. Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy mortar shelling of Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka, Maryinka and Vodyane. Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy artillery shelling of Ukrainian positions at Pavlopil. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and eleven Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. The RNBO reported that on 5-6 August, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and six Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. Report from the Training Company of Operation UNIFIER
In a report published on 5 August by Canada’s Department of National Defence, Joint Task Force – Ukraine (JTF-U) stated, “From January to August 2016, Joint Task Force Ukraine (JTF-U), led by the command team from 3 Battalion Royal 22e Regiment, assisted the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) in developing their techniques, tactics and procedures to increase their ability to survive and their effectiveness on the battlefield. Providing instruction to small teams has two primary components: a 55-day training program that aims to supervise and train a company of Ukrainian soldiers, and the development of Ukrainian instructors. ‘The greatest challenges the UAF faced were their ability to move effectively over terrain, adequate use of force multipliers and effective integration of combined arms.’ explained Major Jean-François Lamarche, commander of the training company. ‘The Canadians therefore adapted the training to emphasize these points in particular.’ […] The training of Ukrainian instructors has evolved since the early days of Operation UNIFIER. In effect, the UAF had a combat training centre (CTC) in Starychi offering limited resources. Consequently, the JTF-U general staff proposed creating a leadership course (Junior Leadership Academy Training – JLAT) to improve the aptitude and increase the number of Ukrainian instructors. The leadership course quickly became one of the priorities within the JTF-U, and it drew the attention of the allies present in Starychi. This component will allow these instructors to eventually take over from Canadians and lead the 55-day training program. […]The UAF platoon members improved their abilities at marksmanship, navigation in the field and offensive and defensive operations, while the Ukrainian non-commissioned officers and officers improved their leadership and instruction and planning aptitudes. Furthermore, this was an opportunity to improve ties with the soldiers of other countries, such as the United States, Poland, Lithuania and Denmark.The members of the JTF-U training company are bringing back new experience and a part of the culture of Eastern Europe, an experience that leaves Canada and its partners stronger and more united. All that is left is for them to prepare the way in order to pass the torch to Canadian soldiers from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group from Shilo, Canada, in August.” The full report is available at
3. Washington Post Editorial Board: Russia and its proxies steadily escalating fighting in eastern Ukraine
On 6 August, the Washington Post’s Editorial Board stated, “while the West’s attention has been otherwise occupied this summer, Russia and its proxies have steadily escalated the fighting. According to the United Nations, 20 civilians were killed and 122 injured in June and July, more than double the average monthly toll of the previous nine months. The Ukrainian army, for its part, reported at least 13 soldiers killed in July. Most of the deaths came in shelling attacks by heavy weapons, including artillery and Grad rockets, that were expressly prohibited by the two peace agreements Russia and Ukraine made. Apart from brief periods, the Russian side has never fully observed the cease-fire, according to reports by international monitors. Meanwhile, military supplies continue to pour across Ukraine’s eastern border, parts of which Russia exclusively controls. According to statements by Ukrainian officials, at least 19 trains carrying military hardware crossed the border in July. On Aug. 2, authorities reported that 30 tanks. 11 armoured vehicles and six Grad rocket systems had been shipped in during the previous week. This despite repeated Russian commitments to pull all such weapons back from the front lines and place them under monitoring. It’s not clear how many Russian personnel are now operating inside Ukraine; in the past, estimates by NATO and other outside observers have ranged from several thousand to 10,000. […] Ukrainian military intelligence has identified and publicly named dozens of Russian officers posted to the region. […] Not surprisingly, the Russian intervention in Ukraine resembles its operation in Syria in several key ways. Mr. Putin has employed subterfuge, deception and lies to cloud the operations and their aims. In negotiations and conferences with Western diplomats, his aides have repeatedly agreed to plans to end the fighting, while on the ground Russian forces have continued to shell and bomb. The Obama administration’s reaction to all this has become painfully familiar. Secretary of State John F. Kerry brokers plans for cease-fires; when they are broken by Russia, he expresses outrage – then returns to Moscow to strike another deal. President Obama continues to insist, as he did this week, that the way to end the conflicts is to work with Russia. The possibility that Mr. Putin has no interest in and no intention of seriously cooperating with the United States in either Ukraine or Syria is one that Mr. Obama evidently finds it inconvenient to contemplate. Sadly, Mr. Trump is not the only one who denies the obvious.”


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